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hopelessbibliophile

Jessica (HDB)

I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!

Currently reading

Bukowski in a Sundress: Confessions from a Writing Life
Kim Addonizio
The Invisible Library
Genevieve Cogman
The Fireman: A Novel
Joe Hill
Progress: 15%
The Monstrumologist
Rick Yancey
Progress: 45/447pages
Bristol House
Beverly Swerling

 

Luna says "Sticks are the best, but mom won't let me chew them."

 

 

Sorry I wasn't around all last week guys, or this weekend really. I had to unplug a bit, and just kind of laze around. It's been my defense mechanism when it comes to anxiety, and it helps a lot! The only exception during that time is Instagram, because I can't resist sharing pictures of Luna. She's just too darn adorable.

 

I did do a lot of reading! I finally made it through the last portion of Natchez Burning which, at 800+ pages, is the longest book I've read so far this year. So I was pretty happy. I'm behind on my Halloween bingo, of course, but I knew that would happen and I'll catch up somehow.

 

So anyway, just saying hi! I'm alive, and back to feeling normal. So I'll be back around on social media. *hugs and love*

Blood of the Prophet (The Fourth Element #2) by Kat Ross

Blood of the Prophet (The Fourth Element) (Volume 2) - Kat Ross
I actually had the luck to read both Blood of the Prophet, and it's predecessor, back to back. So I can honestly tell you that this book is a stellar follow up to the first in the series. It's not often that a second book captures my attention more than the original, but in this case that was absolutely true. Nazafareen and Darius completely stole my heart in this book, and the ending just left me breathless for more.
 
See, my biggest issue with the first book was that it moved along so quickly that there wasn't a lot of time for character development. There was so much that needed to be set up, so many puzzle pieces to lay, that I felt like Nazafareen and Darius just didn't get enough time to flourish. In Blood of the Prophet that was easily remedied. These two felt like real people to me this time around, which made this book all the more exciting to read. I could see the link between them, and not the man made one, grow and strengthen. I also saw huge growth on an individual level in each of them too. It was wonderful to see them finally become the characters that I knew they should be, and even more fun to watch their adorably awkward banter with one another. Ah, budding love.
 
Points also go to this second book because Kat Ross didn't feel the need to rehash all of the things that she had already laid in place. The pacing here, therefore, is much better. Action meshes beautifully with story line, and it makes for a read that is engrossing without feeling too rushed. Best of all, there's a lot more of the history of the Druj uncovered here. In fact, the amount of curve balls that Ross dropped throughout this book had me on edge. If Nazafareen felt blindsided, I was right there with her. Bravo.
 
There is a lot dealt with in this book, but the main point always winds its way back around to the idea of good vs. evil. Whether that's an inherent trait, or something that is fostered through ages of deceit. I loved how many realistic issues Ross was able to bring into this story. From prostitution, to slavery, back around to misogyny. Wrapped up in Fantasy or not, these are still shown as very real questions of morality, and it's intriguing to watch the characters deal with these things in their own ways.
 
So, final verdict? This is an absolutely stunning second book and, truth be told, I enjoyed it much more than the first in the series. Blood of Prophet definitely deserves your time and, therefore, so does the entire Fourth Element series so far!

 

The Memory Thief by Bryce Moore

The Memory Thief - Bryce Moore

Well now, this was fun! I'll spare you my standard spiel on how important I think MG fiction is, and just tell you straight out that this book is going to appeal to a lot of young readers. It's intriguing, fast-paced, and actually rings true to real life despite its premise. What if you could share other people's life experiences? Would you take that opportunity? What if you could actually take memories away from people? Is that okay, if they won't remember and it might improve their lives? So we come to the complicated web of morality that Benji must face, all while still being a kid.

It should be known that I have a soft spot for male protagonists in MG fiction, because I truly think we need more of them. Benji is the perfect example of an impressively drawn main character. At the heart of it all, he's simply a young boy who is motivated by his desire for his family to be happy again. Which means, of course, that he doesn't quite stop to think of what the consequences of his choices might be. After all, it's for good reason. Right? Then Genevieve comes into the picture and shows Benji that the power he hoped to use for good, can also be used for nefarious purposes. There's so much wrapped up in here. The importance of family, the concept of honor, dealing with deception, and even a healthy does of conflict resolution. Definitely a lot for a young reader to soak up, and yet it's all tied up in a perfectly action-packed story line.

Honestly, that's all I can really say without accidentally spoiling anything. This is a quick read, that's really enjoyable to get lost in. In my opinion, it's just about perfect! I have no doubt in my mind that there are a lot of young readers out there who are going to have a blast devouring this. Rest assured though, that The Memory Thief is one of those books that easily transcends age groups. If you, like me, love reading MG? This book definitely deserves a spot on your reading list.

 

Natchez Burning (Penn Cage #4) by Greg Iles

Natchez Burning - Greg Iles

As you might have noticed, this is actually the fourth book in a series. Natchez Burning is, however, the beginning of a brand new story arc that readers can start at. I came into this story knowing nothing about Penn Cage and his family. What I left with? Well, I can absolutely attest to the fact that Greg Iles has mastered the art of the tie in. With no information dumps, and virtually no flashbacks, I quickly came up to speed with Penn, his family, and Natchez as a whole. It felt like home after only a few chapters, and the story that was spun for me has me extremely eager to see what comes next.

I admit that Natchez Burning had me a little wary at the beginning. This book is a tome. At 816 pages in paperback, it's definitely not a light read. Somehow though, Iles manages to use up every bit of that page count without a second of down time. Every sentence is perfectly placed. Each moment, each event, expertly situated to make this book read at a breakneck pace throughout the entire story. Suffice it to say, I was highly impressed. I was worried that this book would be a chore. Afraid that I might have to read through pages of police procedures and information dumps. That wasn't so, I'm happy to report. While this definitely took me time to finish, it was worth every page.

Penn Cage is one of those characters that you can't help but root for. His heart is huge, his motives pure, and he's willing to throw himself into any kind of terrible situation that comes his way if it means protecting his family and his town. It's tough not to fall for him. I figured out very quickly that Iles knew this, because he threw Penn into the fire and dragged him through hell and back. I found myself gripping the pages, white knuckled, as Penn and those he cared about were put into yet another terrifying encounter. This book has it all. Murders, drug deals, mafia bosses, and the types of "bad guys" who make your skin crawl because they're so wholly evil. Which, in truth, is true of every personality that Iles pens into this book. Each character is treated lovingly, and fully developed. Which means the reader is allowed to love, and to hate, as the case calls for. These are real people, and it makes the story all the more compulsively readable.

If I had one small gripe it would be that, ironically, the ending felt a little rushed. I know that it seems ridiculous coming from a person who as worried about reading 800+ pages originally. Truth be told though, the climax was built up so well that I couldn't wait to see what happened. Which is probably why the ending felt a little quick, and the cliffhanger at the end left me breathless. Luckily, I know that there are more books in this series. So I'll have my hands on the next one very soon. This series is well worth your time! Don't be afraid to start with Natchez Burning.

Star Destroyer made out of masking tape!

Maybe I'm the only one that thinks this is cool? But. Wow. That's a pretty awesome use of masking tape.

Laura Silverman

I don't often post the random drama that happens on Twitter or the Interwebs in general, but this is really messed up. Laura Silverman, the author of the upcoming Girl Out Of Water, is being targeted by trolls for making a Twitter comment about Jimmy Fallon and Trump.

 

Now, we all know that's normal. Twitter can be an awful place. Except she's now being targeted on Goodreads, where her debut book is being knocked down with 1-star reviews by those same obnoxious trolls. Plus they're posting 1-star reviews on any other author's books who stick up for her.

 

Here's Laura's Twitter:

https://twitter.com/LJSilverman1

 

Here's her book on GR:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29640839-girl-out-of-water

 

Here's her pre-order link on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Girl-out-Water-Not-Available/dp/1492646865/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474046645&sr=1-2&keywords=girl+out+of+water

 

 

Look, I hate bullies. Internet bullies most of all, because they're the most cowardly. So I'll happily stick up for, and support, any author targeted by them. Heaven forbid someone disagrees with you on the Internet. *sigh*

 

 

A Mortal Song by Megan Crewe

A Mortal Song - Megan Crewe

So, let's start with the good about this book. First off, it's set in Japan and has a rich tie to Japanese lore, which I loved. I've always found Shinto to be fascinating, with its deep reverence of the Kami, who keep our world whole and healthy. It's hard not to fall in love with the concept of nature based spirits, and their ability to interact with our human world. I was really impressed that Megan Crewe decided to base A Mortal Song in this faith, and thrilled that ki flowed through these pages.

 
Sora and Midori are also a very strong aspect of this story. Although Sora has other relationships that make their way onto the page, Midori is her link to the world of the Kami. Their bond is one that goes beyond physical contact, or even the deepest emotions. I loved how linked they were and, most of all, how appreciative Sora was of everything she had been granted. It's wonderful to see a character who actually understands everything they have to lose.
 
Which brings me to the things I had a tougher time with, mainly Chiyo. I have to give credit where credit is due. It was pleasantly surprising to find out that, although Sora begins this story, she wasn't actually the "chosen one". Seeing what it's like to be the one on the outside, the one who wasn't considered to be "special" was a nice change. The downside to this, is that the book didn't give much attention to Chiyo's overall character development. She felt flat to me, and a little bit flippant regarding her newfound destiny. It drove me a little batty, to be honest. I felt sorry for poor Sora, more than anything.
 
In fact, had this story simply focused more on Sora and the Kami I would have been smitten. The fact that Sora had to deal with her basic humaness was a great story line. I wanted more of that. More introspection, more newly found inner strength, and more of her growth. As it stands, a vast majority of this book is nothing but battle scenes. It makes the second half of the book very stagnant, since it feels like nothing but battles are happening, over and over. If this were an anime, it would be perfect! In this case I wanted more flowery writing and character growth. Oh, and less instalove please.
 
As you can see, this book falls right on the fence for me. Thus, the three star rating. There's a lot to love in A Mortal Song. Its premise is rich, and actually pretty well explored here. I just wanted more, so I'm hoping that I'll get what I was missing in the next book.

Spooky Swap 2016!

 

The set up post, and sign up link, are live for the first annual BookLikes Spooky Swap! Come join us if you love getting and giving boxes of goodies!

 

You know you want to.

Bookish Box Swaps!

For anyone who is potentially interested in participating in a Halloween box swap, I finally had a chance to make the group!

 

When I get home, I'll post the actual details for the Halloween swap :).

 

http://booklikes.com/book-clubs/71/bookish-box-swaps

Just wanted to share my Bookstagram account, and see if anyone else on here has one! I'm having a lot of fun with this, even though the hubs is convinced that spending time taking endless pictures of books is crazy. Bah. Books are my life ;).

 

https://www.instagram.com/hdbblog/

Song of Princes by Janell Rhiannon

Song of Princes (Homeric Chronicles Book 1) - Nadège Richards, Regina Wamba, Janell Rhiannon

This is a perfect case of "It's not you, it's me." when it comes to books. So let me start out by stating that Janell Rhiannon has done her research. It's apparent, from the moment that you open this book, that Song of Princes is prepared to take you deep into the Homeric legends. Although this is absolutely a retelling, the broad strokes of legend are vivid and spot on. The reader is pulled into a story of the ages. A story surrounding would be Kings and warriors, all leading up to the fall of Troy. If that sounds like your cup of tea, you're in for a treat.

What I really enjoyed about this story, more than anything, was the detailed characterization that Rhiannon put into each and every character. From the moment that Paris is born, the story that is woven around him brings every aspect of his character to life. I was so impressed at how quickly I fell into step with him, especially since I'm not much of a study in Homeric legends. The same was true of Achilles, of Hektor, and of Odysseus. I wasn't allowed to feel lost while reading this, despite my lack of previous knowledge. The story took my hand, and led me into this world of gods and goddesses.

The story itself is, quite honestly, a little dense. I'm not generally a reader of things historically based though so, again, this will probably very much suit anyone who is. The pacing is definitely spot on, however. Events are laid out in this pace that lies in that perfect space where nothing is ever boring. There's always something new coming to light, or a new character to meet. I have to say that the dialogue is what I really had the most difficult time with. It feels stilted, and unnatural. I've read books from different time periods before, and I know how easy it is to fall into that trap. Especially because, as I mentioned above, there's a lot of information to fit into a smaller amount of pages. Still, this was the one thing that really kept me from falling as deeply into the story as I wish I could have.

Truth be told, I know that this is a series that many readers are going to love. I don't blame them one bit. It's tough to take something that's already a legend, and mold it to your own devices. Rhiannon has accomplished just that. Readers who love this kind of book, filled with fate and fortune, will likely fall in love with Song of Princes as well.

So...

NetGalley got a facelift! Or at least the reading list portion of it did. Which means that all the books that were weirdly archived before I could post any feedback/review to them, randomly reappeared.

 

Which meant that I had 74 pending reviews.... *swoons*

 

The good news is that I was able to knock a lot of them out really quick, since I'd already written reviews for them. The ones that I hadn't, I either just politely said thank you for, or decided to save and actually read.

 

Which meant that I just bought 3 new to me/used paperbacks from AbeBooks.

 

Sorry, not sorry.

 

Also it's coming up on that time of year when I purge my shelves! Stand by for a stack of books that will need new homes, and are free to you if you can pay shipping!

We took family photos this weekend. *giggles*

 

Hey, Luna is our child. Plain and simple. I think that first picture is my new favorite thing ever. Hahahaha. SQUISHY FACE LOVE.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns - Kendare Blake

First, let me confess the fact that I am a huge fan of Kendare Blake's writing. I devoured her Anna books, with their deliciously gore filled pages. I madly paged through the Goddess War series, thoroughly enjoying Blake's mythological tale. So, of course, there was no doubt that I would want to dive right into Three Dark Crowns and the start of a new series. Plus, it was Fantasy. My favorite genre, written by one of my favorite authors? I'm so in.

 

Alas, the premise to this story far exceeded the actual execution in this first book. I can forgive a lot when it comes to Fantasy, but the world building has to be spot on. Without good world building, everything else that is built has nothing to cling to. Which was the case here. Blake starts out by laying the groundwork for the story of these three triplets who must fight for the title of queen. In order to claim the throne, a girl must murder the other two. Sounds amazing, right? I thought so too. If only that had been more laid out, Blake would have had me hook, line and sinker.

 

Instead, this first book chooses to focus heavily on each girl individually. I understood that, after a bit. The aim was to build up each girl and allow them to gain their own distinct personality. That worked to a certain extent. We meet Arsinoe, the naturalist queen who can't seem to find her gift. Mirabella, the elemental queen who is fiercely good at harnessing her power. Katherine, the poisoner queen who is unsure of herself at the best of times. Each of these girls had their own POV, that alternated by chapter. I liked that, because it gave us a glimpse into their different lives. However their voices weren't ever quite as distinct as I had hoped, and it made it difficult to transition at times.

 

As for the plot, I was willing to forgive how slowly it started out because I know there are good things coming around the bend. It takes while for Three Dark Crowns to build up steam (admittedly a longer while than I expected), but once it does things get very exciting! The use of magic, the backstabbing, all of it finally caught me up around the last third of the book. I could definitely have done without the beginnings of a love triangle, but I'll let it go. As long as it doesn't dominate the next book.

 

So, although this wasn't quite what I was hoping for and never quite got up to receiving that 4th star, this is a series that I'll be continuing on with. What can I say? I have faith in Kendare Blake.

The Only Living Boy Vol. 1

The Only Living Boy #1: Prisoner of the Patchwork Planet - David Gallaher, Steve Ellis

Huzzah! Another graphic novel series that I can proudly recommend to readers of all ages. My mind always goes straight to Bone and Amulet, but I can now proudly add The Only Living Boy to that list. This comic series is action packed, and a ton of fun to read. Much love to David Gallaher and Steve Ellis for bringing to life such an exciting young character. Erik Farrell is just your everyday boy, or at least that's how it seems on the surface. That is, until he wakes up one morning in a fantasy world that's nothing like home.

 

If I had one qualm about this first volume, it's that it ends a bit too abruptly for my taste. I'm used to graphic novel volumes finishing out a story arc, or at the very least setting up a cliffhanger. Erik's story ends at a place that is rather unexpected, and it didn't feel complete. Luckily, the art style is wonderful and the writing is superb. That means that, despite any small issues, I am absolutely excited to read more of this! As I said, this spans all ages. It has action, adventure, and just enough tension to make things awesome. I'm so ready for more.

Bingo Update #1

 

So I knew going into this that I wasn't going to have a ton of time to devote to these reads, but I'm still hoping to at least snag a bingo before the end of the month! I really need to learn not to take on so many review books.

 

The good news is that I'm finally getting around to reading books that have been languishing on my Kindle and my shelves for years! So yay for that! Here's my progress so far.

 

Finished

 

Black Cat Square - Devil May Care by Elizabeth Peters

Ghost Stories and Haunted Houses Square - This House is Haunted by John Boyne

 

Currently Reading

 

Reads with (BookLikes) Friends - The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

Read by candlelight or flashlight - Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King